Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Historical Romance Review: The Making of a Duchess, by Shana Galen

Readers of historical romance are in for a treat this June!!!  I read my first book by Shana Galen, and I am hooked!  The Making of a Duchess has just about everything I love in a historical romance:  history, vivid eye popping characters and scenery, an engaging, believable, action packed plot, and sizzling chemistry.

Back cover blurb...

Julien Harcourt, the dashing duc de Valere is used to thwarting intrigue and being on the run.  Separated from his brothers 12 years ago, his frequent travels between England and France, at a time when an exiled Napoleon was known to be marshalling his tropps, leads the English authorities to suspect Julien of spying.  Instead of hunting him down, they send a beautiful young woman to find out the truth...

Sarah Smith finds herself on a dangerous mission to figure out what exactly the Duc is hiding, but the most dager Sarah discovers in Julien is his danger to her heart!  Their risky game of cat and mouse carries them from ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris, and into a fragile love that neither dares to hope for in the light of their deceptions.

Product ISBN: 9781402238659

Price: $6.99
Publication Date: June 2010

This is the first in a trilogy: The Making of a Gentleman Fall 2010 and The Making of a Rogue Spring 2011.

My Review...

The opening scene in The Making of a Duchess, was vivid, intense and had me ensnared from the first line:  "Julien woke suddenly, his eyes wide and focused on the ceiling above his bed."  Immediately, I had questions, had to keep on reading.  And it just got more intense from there.  Galen has a great skill at hooking her reader.  With a crazy work schedule and three wee ones, I am usually a stickler for my bedtime.  But I admit that Galen's book had me up until all hours, my husband tapping me, asking me to please turn off the light.  I took her book with me everywhere, the gym, the urgent care center when my daughter broke her finger, the car... 

The heroine Sarah, is bookish, smart, and thrust into a situation wholly unknown to her.  I empathize with her immediately.  If she doesn't do as her employer says she will be homeless, jobless, and as it is she is already without family and any good friends.  And boy does the governess learn quickly how to play her part.  With a few mishaps and blunders along the way, Sarah does more than capture the information she needs to report to the Foreign Office, she captures Julien's heart.

Our hero, Julien, is what I dream of in a hero.  Dark, dreamy, lithe, mysterious.  He challenges Sarah--whom he believes is the French compte's daughter, Serafina (beautiful name!) every step of the way.  Julien has a tortured past, he harbors a lot of guilt, and he'll stop at nothing to right the wrongs done to his family and find his missing brothers.  Along the way, he'll discover that the puzzling woman thrust into his life, is a perfect match for him.

As always, I look for historical details, and I felt like Galen did a fabulous job!  From the French chateau to the English drawing room, to a ship to a French prison.  Details were vivid, scenes well constructed and I thought the French language was handled well.

I would definitely recommend this book, and I look forward to reading Galen's other titles.

About the author...

Shana Galen is the author of five Regency historicals and two light women's fiction novels.  She is a three-time Rita Award finalist (RWA's most prestigious award for published romance fiction).  Shana teaches 7th grade English, is active in RWA and lives in Houston, Texas.  For more information, visit her website, http://www.shanagalen.com/

Shana is visiting History Undressed!  Leave a comment on 5/26/10 for your chance to win one of two copies of her novel.

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